Critical Theory Certificate

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.


Total Units Required: 5

Certificate Requirements:

  • Complete five courses chosen from the list of approved courses, which is updated annually before the beginning of the academic year.
  • Courses for the certificate must be comprised of five letter-graded (A, B, C) courses authorized for graduate credit. Courses counted for the certificate must have a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA.
  • No more than two courses can be counted towards the certificate from the student’s degree program.

Course Requirements (5 courses total):

All courses, past and current, that may count toward the Critical Theory Certificate can be found on the list of approved courses.

Foundational Critical Theory seminars, chosen from these generally defined fields (at least 2 courses):
  • Critical Theory and Literary Studies: Poststructuralism, cultural studies, and postcolonial theory in literary analysis and theory; the influence of psychoanalysis, Marxism, structuralism, semiotics, and post-structuralist thought on contemporary textual analysis; cultural critique and context-centered methodologies.
  • Critical Theory and Philosophy: Themes may include the origins of critical theory in Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche; the contemporary re-emergence of critical theory in the work of the Frankfurt School; and/or the poststructuralist thinkers such as Derrida and Nancy.
  • Critical Theory and the Study of Politics: The concepts of progress and power in politics and in the study of politics; the sources of modern political critique in the Frankfurt School and phenomenology; the critique of positivism in the social sciences; the critique of sovereignty, identity, and race; empire and post-colonial politics.
  • Critical Theory in the Global South: Includes postcolonial, decolonial, trans-national and intersectional approaches to critical theory. Topics may include plural epistemologies, forms of power, histories, aesthetics, and forms of critique; issues of translatability and untranslatability of core concepts; the study of violence, social justice, trauma and memory informed by critical theory in its trans-national dimensions; projects aiming to diversify critical theory’s canon; and/or the study of the significance of critical theory in the global south and vice versa.
Remaining Courses (3):

Students may request a course to count toward the certificate that is not on the list of approved courses by contacting